And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Nationals 10, Phillies 2: Danny Espinsosa had two homers as the Nats teed off on Cliff Lee. The Cliff Lee with the losing record and and ERA creeping up near 4.00.  Hmmm. Oh, and there was a brief injury delay involving Carlos Ruiz in the bottom of the 8th. After the game Charlie Manuel described it: “He got hit in the crystals. Better him than me.”  God, I love Charlie Manuel.

White Sox 10, Red Sox 7: Chicago had a 10-1 lead heading into the eighth inning when Phil Humber started to unravel. But at some point a lead is too big to fritter away, and this one was unfritterable. Alexi Ramirez was 4 for 5 with 3 RBI. Chicago has won six straight at Fenway.

Pirates 5, Mets 1: Also at some point: you just can’t win games when you don’t have any of your real major leaguers on your active roster. That said, R.A. Dickey pitched pretty well for a guy with a torn plantar fascia. Which, while I’m not entirely sure what it is, it doesn’t sound like something you want to tear.

Brewers 7, Reds 2: In Zack Greinke’s last four starts he has allowed five, four, three and now two earned runs.  His next two opponents had best look out!

Indians 6, Blue Jays 3: Every time I see a Mitch Talbot line score (6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER) I think of Mitch Hedberg. And yes, I think Bigfoot is blurry. That’s the problem. And that’s extra-scary to me, because there’s a large, out-of-focus monster.

Rays 5, Rangers 4:Arthur Rhodes really has no business facing righties who, coming into this game, were slugging .570 off him. Yet Ron Washington let him face Evan Longoria with a runner on base in the eighth inning. Longoria hit a two-run homer. Imagine.

Cardinals 4, Giants 3: Skip Schumaker’s go-ahead RBI single was the cherry on top of the Cardinals’ three-run eighth inning. In other news, Schumaker’s walk-up music is “The Stroke” by Billy Squier. Stick your right hand out and give that man a firm handshake.

Padres 5, Braves 4: Mike Minor probably deserved a better fate. He left with the game tied and a runner on first in the seventh. Cory Gearrin prompty let him in to score and then allowed the Padres to score two more after that. Ryan Ludwick had four hits.

Tigers 8, Twins 7: The Tigers scored the go-ahead run on a sac fly that wouldn’t have happened if Twins’ reliever Phil Dumatrait hadn’t thrown a bunted ball away. But hey, if there’s a team that is going to shoot themselves in the foot this year, it’s Minnesota. Two homers for Justin Morneau in a losing cause.

Astros 7, Cubs 3: Carlos Marmol got rocked for six runs in the ninth. Needless to say, the save was blown. Marmol faced seven hitters. He only got one out, and that was because the batter willingly surrendered himself with a sacrifice bunt. There are teams that lose more games than the Cubs, but there are not many who lose more ugly than they do.

Royals 7, Angels 3: Eric Hosmer drove in two and scored two and Jeff Francoeur drove in two more. Alex Gordon and Chris Getz both had three hits.

Mariners 3, Orioles 2: Jeremy Guthrie cruised for seven innings and then got two quick outs in the eighth before allowing Ichiro to reach on an error, giving up a single to Brendan Ryan and a three-run homer to Justin Smoak. All of the runs unearned, of course, but all of them are on Guthrie in reality.

Dodgers 8, Rockies 2: Los Angeles continues its recent run-scoring binge. Matt Kemp drove in four and Casey Blake three more.

Marlins 5, Diamondbacks 2: Anibal Sanchez cools off the hot Dbacks, adding a couple of RBI to HHOC.

Yankees 10, Athletics 3: The A’s aren’t exactly giving the Yankees much of a hassle in this series. Mr. Anderson was lit up for ten runs on 11 hits. Curtis Granderson went 3 for 5 with a homer and 4 RBI. A-Rod had three RBI of his own.

Blue Jays clinch 1st playoff spot since 2016, beat Yanks 4-1

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Barred from playing in their own ballpark this year because of COVID-19, the vagabond Toronto Blue Jays have found a home in the playoffs.

The slumping New York Yankees, meanwhile, look likely to play on the road in the postseason, where they’ve struggled all year.

Hyun Jin Ryu pitched seven shutout innings and the Blue Jays clinched their first postseason spot since 2016, beating the Yankees 4-1 Thursday night and further damaging New York’s chances of hosting a first-round series.

New York lost for the fourth time in five games following a 10-game winning stretch and remained two games behind the slumping White Sox for the fourth seed. Chicago lost 5-4 at Cleveland, its fifth straight defeat.

“We’ve got to get it rolling again, obviously, if we’re going to get to where we want to go,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I’m confident we can do it.

New York went 21-7 at home this season but was 11-18 on the road. Boone said he’s not concerned about that split even as a potential road playoff series looms next week.

“We’ve got to get ourselves in order and start playing really good baseball if we’re going to give ourselves a chance,” Boone said.

Toronto secured at least an AL wild-card spot and ensured its eighth trip overall to the postseason. The Blue Jays had endured three losing campaigns since their previous playoff trip, going 67-95 last season.

“I’m just so proud of my club and everything we’ve gone through all year,” second-year manager Charlie Montoyo said.

Canada’s federal government refused to allow games at Toronto’s Rogers Centre this season, citing the closed Canada-U.S. border and the travel risk associated with the pandemic. Stuck on the road to start the season, the Blue Jays eventually ended up at their Triple-A ballpark, Sahlen Field in Buffalo, but didn’t gripe about their fate.

“They never complained,” Montoyo said. “They had their mind set on getting to this moment right now.”

Blue Jays players embraced after Rafael Dolis struck out Aaron Hicks to end it, donning blue T-shirts that said “Respect Toronto.”

“This is something we want to make an every year thing,” infielder Cavan Biggio said. “For us, we’re happy, we’re excited we’re able to put ourselves in this position, but this is only the start of hopefully something special for a long time.”

The Blue Jays trail the Yankees by two games for second place in the AL East. Both teams have three games remaining. Toronto hosts Baltimore in Buffalo this weekend while the Yankees host the Marlins.

New York failed to hit a homer for the fourth straight game, matching its longest streak since June 2016. It’s the first time the Yankees have failed to homer in a four-game series since doing so at Texas in July 2013.

“I’m concerned with the way we’ve played recently,” outfielder Brett Gardner said. “Any time you’re not playing your best baseball and the postseason is right around the corner, something needs to be corrected rather quickly.”

New York loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but pinch-hitter Gary Sanchez flied out to deep center, where Randal Grichuk made a leaping catch at the wall.

“It’s good to see him get a really good swing off in a big spot,” Boone said of Sanchez. “Just unfortunately, that short.”

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homered for Toronto, his eighth.

Ryu (5-2) scattered five hits, walked two and struck out four. Luke Voit and Hicks hit back-to-back singles to begin the sixth but Ryu struck out Giancarlo Stanton, got Gleyber Torres to fly out, and retired Gio Urshela on a groundball.

“He’s an ace and he did what an ace does,” Montoyo said.

The left-hander lowered his ERA from 3.00 to 2.69.

Dolis got four outs for his fifth save in six chances.

Guerrero opened the scoring with a solo homer off left-hander Jordan Montgomery (2-3) in the second.

The Blue Jays extended their lead when Biggio and Bo Bichette hit back-to-back, two-out doubles in the third.

Toronto made it 4-0 in the sixth. Grichuk chased Montgomery with a single and Guerrero singled off Adam Ottavino before rookie Alejandro Kirk hit a two-out, two-run double.

Montgomery lost for the first time in four starts. He allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

The Blue Jays finished 5-5 in their 10-game regular season series against the Yankees.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Nate Pearson (elbow) was activated off the injured list and RHP Wilmer Font was designated for assignment. . RHP Jordan Romano (strained right middle finger) will throw a second bullpen session Friday.

Yankees: Aaron Judge came on as a pinch-hitter but is expected to start all three remaining regular season games, Boone said.

SHARED DUTY

Boone said he expects to use both Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka at catcher in the postseason. Higashioka has hit well while working with ace Gerrit Cole, while Sanchez has struggled with both offense and his defense down the stretch.

SEVEN UP

Ryu became the first Blue Jays starting pitcher since Aug. 22, 2019, to pitch into the seventh. It had been an MLB-record 88 games since RHP Jacob Waguespack pitched into the seventh at Dodger Stadium last year.

UP NEXT

Yankees: LHP J.A. Happ (2-2, 3.25) starts Friday as New York returns home to begin a three-game series against Miami. RHP Sandy Alcantara (3-2, 3.12) starts for the Marlins.

Blue Jays: RHP Taijuan Walker (4-3, 2.86) starts Friday in the opener of a three-game series against Baltimore. The Orioles have not named a starter.